Monthly Archives: October 2012

Postcards from Now

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We watch a lot of movies lately...Bambi was a hit. 102 Dalmations was abandoned. Polar Express was accompanied by 50,000 questions.

Life is different, these days. Small tasks loom large; outings are few and hard-won.

This was a maybe too ambitious outing to an arboretum about an hour away…it’s so hard to know when this baby is done nursing. I can never be sure when I can get an hour or two with him not wanting to feed. It’s stressful.

Looking a little tired there

 

I painted a table before the baby was born. And I like the way it looks in his nursery. It also fetchingly houses my rented Medela double electric Symphony breast pump.

My sister got us a cute framed craft–we’re supposed to take a hand print of Henry’s hand and put it on either the baby blue (for a boy) or pink (for a girl) paper included with the kit. Anna took matters into her own hands and decided we needed her hand print and then she somehow lost the blue paper. So no newborn hand print for Henry until I find some replacement paper. Well played, Anna.

This is a library copy of The Little Mermaid that was peed on.

Anna’s been without pullups at night for a couple of weeks now. She didn’t have a single accident until the other night. She missed the bed protector and peed right on the book she was looking at before she went to sleep. I love the collection of kids’ library books I’m amassing because they’ve gotten ripped, or lost, or otherwise ruined. Peed on is a new one, though. Makes you think twice about taking out library books, huh? Don’t worry…I will buy it.

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We were “booed”…candy was anonymously left on our doorstep. We are supposed to return the favor to two neighbors. Let’s see if this happens before Halloween. Right now, it’s not looking so hot.

We were once humans who slept all night and had minimal undereye circles and exercised regularly? Really?

Poor, poor second child Henry. I haven’t gotten around to replacing the picture of Finn as a puppy with Henry as a baby to accompany Anna as a baby on our chalkboard. This feels like the height of second child neglect.

And after I get around to changing that picture, I’ll get right back to making six-figures as a freelancer. Maybe including decimal points.

Higher on the priority list of to-dos is figuring out this damn Moby wrap.

I’ve got the two newborn holds down (although I’m not 100% loving how they feel…think I need to keep fine-tuning and adjusting) but nursing in the Moby is my ultimate goal. It’s like a legendary promised land of freedom and mobility that I don’t know if I will ever reach. Seems so simple when the nice ladies do it on YouTube, doesn’t it?

Oh, and my husband broke my daughter’s glasses when he was getting her dressed. Now she’s got taped-up Urkel specs until who knows how long. Stores aren’t even open yet around here after Hurricane Sandy.

Oh. And there’s a tree on our house.

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Hurricane Housebound

It’s funny to see all my Facebook friends commenting about how Hurricane Sandy is a good chance to stay home and be cozy with their families and be off from work. With a newborn, we’ve been nothing BUT home and cozy for weeks so it’s more of the same for us, except with the possibility of no power for days! Should be interesting to change diapers by flashlight. Someone suggested a head lamp. Head Lamps: Not Just For Running Any More

The calm before the storm...Saturday was the last chance to see the foliage before it all blows down

Our preparations for the storm showed some of our priorities: we brewed an extra pot of coffee in case of power loss. Can’t survive newborn sleep and storm hunkering without ample amounts of coffee. We cooked whatever was perishable in the fridge and made sure we had essentials. We’ve strategized creative sleeping arrangements, since last night, before the storm even got close, a small tree in our backyard split down to the ground and is now leaning precariously on our deck, another tree, and our roof.

Our daughter’s room is in the back of the house. So we’re going to move her bed into the nursery, and whoever isn’t watching the baby will sleep with her. Then switch. That way, no one is alone, and she isn’t getting woken up all night by Henry.

The only thing more tiresome than 4,562 Why, why why ?questions is 4,562 CRANKY Why, why, why [SOB] Why Mommy [cry]? questions while stuck in the house for days on end. (Oh, with another fussy baby, to boot).

On Demand kids’ movies will be happening, until such time as we lose power. Here’s to hoping it’s not so bad, for us, and for all the rest of us here in NY, NJ and the Northeast.

 

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Feeding Friday

Can’t wait to re-institute Fitness Fridays again.

There’s just not much fitness happening for me right now, but I’m pretty much too exhausted to care.

Two weeks postpartum

There IS a lot of feeding…complicated, problematic baby feeding. Part of me wishes this could be Formula Friday, when I talk about how I guiltlessly decided breastfeeding was causing more stress than I could handle and just made the switch for my sanity and family’s equilibrium.

But I can’t do that yet. Even though it feels like an easy out right about now.

If only I could have my body back…no more painful nipples, no more leaking, no more uncomfortable engorgement. Struggling with the baby to get him to latch right. Aches and pains in the joints and muscles of my neck and shoulder from holding him, often awkwardly, for most of the day and night. Endlessly feeding him. Having to wake up and pump. Being tied to home, being on call, being the only one who can feed him. Clogged ducts, mastitis, and now what I think is thrush.

Last time around with my daughter this was the straw that broke me. After a month in, with all the same problems as this time, I couldn’t handle that final one. I couldn’t handle what should seem to be the more mundane aspects: what to wear, how to sleep, how to deal with pain and soreness when all nursing pads seemed excruciatingly painful. A topless life was not so convenient. Now I only wear Soothies (the gel pads) because everything else, of course, hurts. If I have thrush, I can’t really wear them 24-7, because, well, thrush. The problem seems insurmountable here from my vantage point. I know it’s not, but down here in the depths of sleep deprivation and constant stress, it seems like I just drove for days only for the highway to end at a cemented-over tunnel entrance.

I ventured out to a breastfeeding support group with Henry yesterday. Magically, it was five blocks away from my house and only one other woman was there, so the lactation consultant was able to talk to me for a long time. She said I was doing everything “right,” trying to fix all the problems the right way. This was unfortunately before I realized I might be getting thrush so I didn’t get  a chance to ask her about that.

Finn after a bath...looking pretty much how I feel, too, buddy

I feel like crying and Why Me-ing…why do I have every problem in the book (that I never got around to reading) and some people breeze through this? I know I am blessed in so many ways and breeze through other things some women struggle with (how about having healthy babies in the first place? I know I’m lucky.) But the Why Me-ing is a comfortingly dark and teary place to dwell. It’s not healthy to stay here. I know. But right now I’m frustrated and feel defeated.

Which is probably why this post is highly whiny and depressing. Here’s to a happier post come Monday.

At least she never fails to cheer me up

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Milestones

Henry has officially outgrown newborn diapers and he’s into size ones.

Funny enough, since my last post on Monday saw me complaining about being tired and being stressed, things got worse, if only to remind me that a return to that status quo would be not so bad, in retrospect.

My daughter got a cold, so we’ve been trying to keep her away from the baby, which is an challenging juggling act.

Luckily, my husband took her into Manhattan to see his office, Rockefeller Center, and the Lego store for a daddy and daughter day.

Hopefully Henry misses catching his first cold at two and a half weeks.

I woke up at 1 a.m. on Monday night to feed the baby with a splitting headache and almost threw up and fainted. By the next morning I had chills, muscle aches and a temperature of 101 degrees. It was mastitis from a clugged duct. I felt horrific all Tuesday, just completely sick and drained. Luckily I was able to do some self-surgery and get the plug unstuck. It was…interesting. By the middle of last night my fever broke and now I’m happy just going back to plain old up all night tired.

My baby is still a super gas monster. He cries with gas half the day and night. I’m trying to follow all the instructions for “lactase overload” and single side feeding, and oversupply, and overactive let down…sometimes it’s better and sometimes it’s worse. I really pray he grows out of this sooner rather than later.

He’s also a constant nursing monster. Good thing I haven’t watched trash daytime TV since I sat on the couch nursing my daughter three years ago, and I can catch up with such delights as Couples Therapy on VH1 (my favorite at the moment) and Say Yes to the Dress. I don’t think you could pay me money to sit there and watch Say Yes to the Dress at 2 pm on a Wednesday in my normal, regular life. Yet somehow, right now it hits the (couch) spot.

 

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Two Weeks, Or, It’s Always a Good Time

Newborn days.

They’re short, since winding down for family bedtime starts soon after fall’s early dusk. At 7 p.m. we take the party upstairs for the two parent wrangling of preschooler and newborn for “bedtime.”

The nights are long. Mornings bring relief, even if I haven’t slept much. In the morning I can drink coffee, and look forward to showering like I haven’t since I went camping once in the Adirondacks once when I was 23.

Everything seems brighter and more positive in the morning. I can make ambitious plans for the day (gotta get out! schedule in a walk! maybe I can work on an article…let’s see how brain-dead I get by the afternoon…a lingering dream for a manicure lives on…get Anna dressed, help Daddy do her hair, clean her glasses, don’t forget xyz, get her out of the house) that I try to sandwich in between endless feedings, cleaning, diaper changing.

Sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t. Good days and bad days. I can’t start thinking too far forward into the future. Can’t worry about my husband going back to work. Can’t ruminate about long winter days ahead.

Just hang on…eat sleep drink and maintain mental health. Make it through the next day, night, week, month. It’s not so much a lowering of expectations as a narrowing. Viewing the world through half-closed eyes, slit against the world for survival.

 

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No Fitness Itch

Almost two weeks postpartum and I don’t really have an itch to run, or work out like I imagined I would.

I think it’s because breastfeeding and baby caring and three year old wrangling and adjusting to newborn sleep life is all-consuming.

I do have an urge to be FREE…on a beautiful fall night I’d love to be outside running, but mostly because I want to be outside, alone, free, for an hour or so. I keep taking the most mundane little trips to “get out”…supermarket, drug store, walking the dog. They are better than nothing but it’s stressful being “on call” for when the baby will wake and want to eat again.

Henry looks skeptical.

I want to get a freezer/ fridge stash of bottles going just so I can feel secure that in an emergency or if I need or want to go somewhere for longer than an hour I can. But right now I have an oversupply/overactive let down problem so I can’t really pump much more than I need to do replenish the one bottle Henry gets at night while I sleep a little.

I guess my supply will tame itself and I can start storing milk in a few weeks. I hope so. It’s not that I want to spend hours away from my baby, it’s just the IDEA that I could that will help me feel not so stuck.

Post baby belly at a week and a couple days after birth.

So for now, this fitness blog will be very light on fitness. I am walking tons every day, and I have a constant urge to walk…

Today I’m planning to break this DVD out:

It’s the single best resource for pelvic floor rehab, I think. Tasha is an expert in getting stuff straightened out, and she’s an endurance athlete too. Check it out if you’ve ever had a baby!

Maybe next week I’ll move into some light strength stuff at home. I don’t want to lose too much muscle during the six week rest period. Incidentally, I also don’t have an urge to start doing too much before that time period is up. I feel like my joints are all still lax, and I get weird pain from nursing positions, and I just want to fully heal.

I know there will be time for all the things I want to do. I have to be patient.

 

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Adjustment Anxieties

So we’re into the second week with baby, and although things are very do-able now, it’s because my husband is on a paternity leave. My thoughts (mostly worries) keep turning to what will happen when he goes back to work in November: how will I manage? What will we do over a long, long winter?

Here’s my brain dump of anxieties:

1. How will we avoid being stuck in the house when it’s winter and I’m trying to avoid exposing the baby to germs? I don’t take flu and RSV season lightly, since my daughter was hospitalized at three months with RSV and it was the worst experience ever. But my husband will be gone from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. That is a long day with no trips to the gym, no outings, no shopping, no playdates, no playgroups, no classes. The only thing we have regularly scheduled is Anna’s preschool: MWF from 9:30 to 1 p.m.

I know we can’t sit home and outdoor playing which is less germy will be done pretty soon. I go crazy cooped up in the house and it’s not good for a three year old either. I’m not sure what to do. We have lots of mommy and kid friends who are my daughter’s age and I guess I will slowly start bringing the baby with us to playdates and friends’ houses. But exposing him to lots of little kids is not that appealing either. I’m going to try to hold out for that six week benchmark (only two weeks after Walt goes back to work) and then see what we can do that I feel comfortable with.

What did you do if you had a winter newborn and an older child?

2. Juggling the two by myself. Getting my daughter ready for preschool with the baby nursing…timing feeding and getting out the door…I know this will just come with time and I already foresee it being not as bad as I thought. Of course this will change as Henry gets bigger and gets more complicated in his needs, too.

3. Sleep. Right now my husband is awesome and is giving Henry his first one or two feedings by bottle at night. This is letting me get uninterrupted stretches of five or six hours and often needing to pump is what wakes me up, not Henry! Of course once Walt goes back to work, this won’t work but I think if he gives him one bottle and I go to bed ASAP (8 p.m. with my daughter basically) I can get a jump start on sleep for the night. I am not the picture of mental health with no unbroken sleep at all so this is a major priority for my family. Ha.

4. Working out. I want to keep nursing as long as I can. I only nursed Anna for one month and it was pretty much a difficult, horrible experience. I really want to try to make it work this time, with my last baby. And so far it seems so much easier already. Henry actually eats in defined intervals (every two to three hours) instead of off and on all day. Although he does that too at certain times. He’s a good eater and I can see how nursing can be part of my life, as opposed to just nursing becoming all-encompassing and sentencing me to entire days on the couch. I’ve even nursed in public three or four times now, something I never did before. I want to get a sling or wrap that works for nursing…maybe the Moby?

Anna "feeding" her baby.

But nursing while exercising seems pretty scary to me right now. Last time I started running after I had weaned. I can’t imagine how to balance or juggle the two…what about the bouncing and pain…soreness…chafing? Timing? Will it affect supply? Do the prolactin and all the hormones interfere with one’s ability or desire to run? I know so many women have done this before…I’m going to have to get their advice. I can’t see not running for a year…or six months…but I don’t want to stop nursing because I want to work out.

Anyone have any advice or been there done that stories?

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A Birth Story

Everyone has one, right?

After weeks of feeling like any day could the The One, I resigned myself to just forgetting about this baby ever coming and relax. My husband and I joked that it would be nice and convenient for the baby to decide to come during the long Columbus Day weekend. The weather was also forecasted to be insane: going from warm and sunny to freezing and stormy. I had a good feeling.

Saturday we went for a family “hike” (three-year-old and tremendously huge pregnant lady-style) and I noticed I was starting to lose some mucus plug and was crampy. I also felt weirdly calm, happy, and almost euphoric. I felt like I was sort of electrically charged…I started getting a stronger feeling that this weekend would be it. That night we took our daughter to see The Lorax at a park lawn showing and in retrospect, I was so happy we had such a fun fall day as a family of three for the last time.

At 5 a.m. I woke up from a dream and heard/felt a pop pop pop sound come from inside me. I had read that some women experience their water breaking with a popping sound, even though last time my water broke I didn’t hear it, so I stood up to see if any fluid would come, and sure enough, it was go time. My husband and I debated trying to sleep more to rest up but it became clear I was having contractions right away and they were definitely not nothing ones, so we got up and started packing last minute things and getting the house ready.

Anna woke up and said she changed her mind and didn’t want the baby to come. The baby’s mind on the other hand seemed pretty well made up: my contractions quickly went from every ten, to every eight, to every six minutes in less than an hour. I called my mom and said I would call her soon to tell her when to come and then ten minutes later I called back and said, on second thought, come now.

My sister and her boyfriend were two blocks away so they were our go-to emergency child care but of course they weren’t answering the phone. So my husband jumped in the car to go wake them up. I went from hemming and hawing about even calling the midwife to moaning a bit through a contraction (while I was brushing my teeth…I refused to leave without brushing my teeth!). While Walt was gone I walked around muttering “I want to go now I want to go now I want to go now.” Our help arrived just in time, as my last contraction before we left the house had me on hands and knees. I spent the car ride the same way I did when I had my daughter (when I got to the hospital with her I was fully dilated). I had to lean against the back of the seat and crouch on my knees and basically make a lot of noise. Walt calls it “when I turn into a werewolf.”

The trip is normally 45 minutes but speeding got us there in about 25. I almost couldn’t walk from the parking lot to the labor and delivery suite, since I was having back labor this time. In between contractions I was still in pain…it felt like the baby was grinding down on my tailbone and I felt faint and nauseous. I had to hold onto Walt and sort of penguin waddle. It took forever (or at least it seemed like it). When we got to the check-in lobby I sort of leaned over a chair and had a huge contraction and my water started gushing out again all over the lobby, probably scaring the one woman sitting there. She looked a little alarmed. Ha.

Waiting in the triage room, I had three or four of the world’s most insane contractions and fluid just keep gushing. Walt opened the door so someone, anyone, would hear that we were sort of in an urgent state and couldn’t wait around all day for someone to come in. Finally the midwife arrived (with a midwife in training!) and she took charge, deflecting a lot of the things the nurses wanted to do, telling them there wasn’t really time for the blood draws, checks, etc. They listened to the baby and he was good and they got us into a delivery room quickly. I was already pushing I think without meaning to.

There was a lot of chaos at this point. Between the midwife in training and disagreements between the midwife and the hospital nurses, there was a lot of back and forth. I was too zoned out to register most of it but I remember being completely impatient with anything anyone wanted me to do. I didn’t even want to get on my back to push at all but they were worried I was too faint to push in another position. (I also think even my progressive midwives prefer women to deliver on their backs because it makes it easier for them to catch the babies).

The midwife in training checked me and said, basically, the baby’s head is right there. Everyone was saying this baby is going to be born in minutes but I had trouble believing them since I pushed for seven hours with my daughter. But four pushes and 15 minutes later, he was born. Posterior and with an arm next to his head, too!

We were shocked that was he was 9 pounds 3 ounces. I knew he was big, but that was on a different level big. Anna was seven pounds! I couldn’t believe I had pushed out a nine-pounder in minutes with no tears. It did hurt a lot, though, when he crowned. I was screeching.

Henry John Sweet is objectively the most beautiful baby ever, since my last baby. He’s so chill and easy-going, except for when he’s cold or not cozy. He’s a cozy monster and a total cuddler. He already sleeps in longer stretches than my daughter did at three months and he eats like a monster. He had a tongue tie that we just got snipped and so he is feeding better and less painfully for me.

Our daughter had a bit of a rough time with the change. I think that subject deserves its own post.

I’m just so happy and in love and can’t believe I was worried I’d never love another child like I love my first. Like every parent of more than one child has said before, and I’m saying it again. It feels pretty good to have all my family members here on Earth accounted for. I don’t love the newborn and infant stage, but this time so far I’m way more chill and patient, maybe because I know this is the last time around. And it’s a pretty sweet time.

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And Then There Were Four

Henry John was born on Sunday, October 7th at 8:47 a.m. He was 9 pounds and 3 ounces! And 21 1/2 inches long. Labor was less than four hours from my water breaking to birth!

Can’t wait to write a full birth story.

Right now we are adjusting to life as a family of four.

So far it’s more challenging that I thought, juggling those two guys there.

Henry is amazing. He is so sweet and such a lover of a baby. He’s having some problems feeding so we are trying to work those out.

I’m so happy and grateful.

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Fitness Friday: The Bare Minimum Edition

So I hate that my weeks in fitness are becoming so lackluster and just going through the motions, but I guess that’s the reality at the very end of my pregnancy. I’m 39 weeks and 3 days and I’m so over being pregnant, that I’m also so over my pregnancy workouts.

I’m really struggling with staying motivated to do anything! I’m pretty tired and I also feel sort of blah. Maybe it’s some kind of hormone dip or maybe it’s just because I feel like I’m in a limbo phase….just waiting to go into labor. I know logically I should try to stay busy and enjoy the time I have now, but logic doesn’t always come through for ya.

(My daughter and I waiting at my last midwife checkup.)

So here’s what I did this week, in between obsessing over not being labor:

On Monday I did a full body weights routine in the gym and felt pretty good. See detailed recap below.

Tuesday was a half hour of elliptical and 15 minutes of incline treadmill walking. Spin classes are pretty much done. I don’t think sitting on the bike would work at this point in terms of comfort.

Wednesday was another elliptical and walking day. I was getting some nice contractions while working out and had a burst of energy, thinking something was happening…but then they petered out.

Thursday I…rested! I made a last minute decision to rest instead of doing weights again, for pretty much no reason besides being tired. I had that imminent labor feeling again, which makes me want to rest and conserve energy, and then of course, nothing happens, so I end up feeling more blah because I didn’t work out. But I’m trying to listen to my body and rest when it says rest. I have the all of my life to work out (and I know I will).

I suited my dog up for a nice walk…and then thunderstorms hit. I was hoping the rain and barometer falling would help kick start something, too, but here I am, nada.

Friday (today). Going to do the full body weight routine I missed yesterday and walk the mutt while Anna is in preschool. I have a major urge to walk, walk, walk and I never get to. Maybe that means something?!

So here’s what I did in the weight room on Monday, just so this fitness post can have some fitness in it:

  • Really low weight body bar squats (30 lb. bar, three sets of 20). This also serves as my warm-up
  • Plie position squats with a 15 or 20 lb. dumb bell (three sets of 15)
  • Standing leg curl hamstring machine (three sets of 10-12 with 20 lbs. or so)

(This machine is great, since I can’t lay on my stomach for the other hamstring curl machine. But I think I like it better anyway. It seems like it targets the hamstring more. Check it out if your gym has one.)

  • Quad extension machine (I usually do one leg at a time to isolate a stronger or weaker muscle)
  • Short plank sets (three of only about 10 seconds…I’ve slowly lost the ability to hang out in plank as I’ve gotten bigger and bigger…mostly because of heartburn
  • Another preggo core move: In a tabletop hands and knees position, I suck up my tummy to work my transverse ab muscles (three sets of 12-15 reps)
  • Pushups! I am still gritting out three sets of ten real ones with good form. Heartburn makes this interesting.
  • Lat pull-down machine (80 lbs. still! Three sets of 10ish)
  • Low grip cable row (three sets of 8 at 80 lbs. or 15 at 70 lbs.)
  • Wide chest press machine (90 lbs., three sets of 8-10)
  •  Dumbbell shoulder fly (15′s) or lateral shoulder machine (like this one)

This machine is hard! I can only do 10 lbs. on it

  • Bicep curls (20 lbs. each arm, for about 8 reps)
  • Tricep pulley extension machine. I think I’m calling these machines the wrong names, since they are the ones I’m making up in my head as I go along. One day I will learn the proper names. It’s a machine with stacked weights, where you sit and do an overhead tricep extension on a cable. I can’t find a photo of something similar to what they have at my gym! So strange. Anyway, I just graduated from three sets of 12 reps at 30 lbs. to doing a couple sets at 40 lbs. Woo-hoo!

Overall, I do a lot less body weight and leg work than I did when I was smaller/ not pregnant. Less intense cardio type moves, and I rely more on machines where I can sit. I’m psyched I haven’t lost any strength! Maybe because I’m working with the advantage of an extra 30 pounds, but I’ll take it.

I’m ready for post-partum walking and a break from my routine. It’s been 39 weeks of not missing many days and I’m sick of walking into the gym to hear comments like “You’re still here??”

YES. But I don’t want to be here. At least not until I’m making a full stop return to maximum fitness in a few months.

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